PPD terminates North Carolina plans after delays

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Construction

US CRO PPD has abandoned plans to move into a 40,000 sq ft office building in North Carolina’s Kannapolis biotech complex due to slower than expected development.

The tenancy, which was announced last April, had been expected to create as many as 300 new jobs for clinical research associates, project managers and scientific staff over three years.

The contract research organisation (CRO) has been winding down operations in a temporary office on the outskirts of the campus that was intended to house the firm until its new building was ready.

However, local media reports suggest that construction of the campus building PPD had been due to share with hospital management group Carolinas HealthCare System​has not yet begun after repeated delays.

PPD told the Charlotte Observer​ newspaper that: “Progress in developing, constructing and recruiting tenants to the North Carolina Research Campus has been much slower than we expected.

According to another report in the Charlotte Business Journal​ the construction delays are due to ongoing financing problems encountered by the sites’ developer, North Carolina-based firm Castle & Cooke (C&C).

C&C’s vice president of business development, Clyde Higgs, told the paper that: “PPD [will continue] their partnership with the campus into the future​,” although did not explain in what capacity.

Peaks and troughs in 2009

The decision to terminate the North Carolina tenancy deal is one of several strategic readjustments and that PPD has made this year.

In April, the firm cuts its guidance for the year citing an “unprecedented” number of project cancellations due to the global economic downturn and state of flux of the pharmaceutical industry as major contributing factors.

This was followed in May by the news PPD would not receive a $25m (€17.7m) milestone from Japan’s Takeda after data filed to support the diabetes drug alogliptin was deemed insufficient for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On a more positive note PPD’s global expansion programme has help it build in key markets including Japan and, more recently, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) through the acquisition of AbCRO.

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